”Marketing requires data gathering, analysis, training, testing and discipline – repeatedly if you want loyal customers and repeat sales. Sometimes you get lucky. But it’s risky business to leave something as important as your company’s livelihood to chance.” – John Hebert
Unless you’ve been on an around-the-world cruise or perhaps backpacking through the Himalayas, by now you have heard of the utter disaster in the National Football League last season regarding the use of replacement referees.
The NFL decided – which in hindsight proved to be very faulty thinking – to lock out the regular referees when the contract with the union expired. Thinking that it wouldn’t make any difference to the overall quality of the game, the NFL brought in “replacement referees” to officiate the games.
Instead of using the tried-and-true professionals who had been with the league for a very long time, the NFL went with referees from Division III colleges and high schools and expected them to perform at a level close to what the regular refs did. To say that it did not work would be a Titanic-sized understatement.
The-powers-that-be in the league office decided that it was worth it to risk the brand, or the “shield” as they call it of the NFL by trying to save some money and not invest in something that was an integral, though believed to be insignificant, part of both the game and the overall “product.” The ensuing fiasco ensured them a place on the front page of the paper, lead stories on talk radio and even caused the league to be roasted on late-night TV.
The hue and cry built through the first three weeks of the regular season with good reason, as easy calls were missed, games were slowed down to a crawling pace and, eventually, on a Monday night in Seattle, the outcome of a game was changed and defeat was snatched out of the jaws of victory with one erroneous call on the last play of the game. Instead of an interception being awarded to the Green Bay Packers that would have secured the game, the play was ruled to be a catch and a touchdown for the Seattle Seahawks securing the win for them.